The NCAA issued a statement on Monday in response to the growing number of bills in state legislatures to ban transgender athletes – mostly women and girls – from competing in sports divisions that match their gender identities, claiming that she was “ determined to ensure that the NCAA Championships are open to all who are eligible to participate. “
But the organization, which has been under pressure from LGBTQ rights advocates, major league leaders and its own athletes, has refrained from saying it will withdraw from state championships considering such legislation. The NCAA, chaired by Mark Emmert, took the step in 2016 after North Carolina passed a law that restricted bathroom access for transgender people.
“The Board of Governors continues to monitor the situation and has not made final decisions on the future of the championships,” Michelle Hosick, an NCAA spokesperson, wrote in an email to The Times Monday.
Opponents of these bills wonder why.
“We are grateful to President Emmert and the NCAA for past and present leadership in fostering diversity, equity and inclusion in sport; their voice in this space has been important in preventing hate legislation from coming into force and, in some cases, has helped overturn discriminatory laws written on the books, ”Alphonso David, president of Human, told reporters on Friday. Rights Campaign. “Right now, however, we are calling on the NCAA to do more and use the power of its visibility to reaffirm and support transgender and non-binary athletes across the country.”
The Human Rights Campaign is one of many groups that sent letters to the NCAA calling for a stronger response to the bills that emerged in at least 30 states during this session. A letter was signed by over 700 college athletes.
“It is impossible for female athletes to feel safe and supported in an environment where their personal identity and personal integrity are challenged,” said Alana Bojar, one of the athletes who wrote the letter on Friday. She is part of the track and field team at Washington University in St. Louis.
“The reality is that many of these bills cannot be implemented without calling on the police and intimidating all student athletes who do not respond to gender stereotypes,” Bojar said.
Emmert has previously said the organization should intervene in political disputes that affect college athletes. Just last year, the NCAA and the Southeastern Conference lobbied Mississippi for its 126-year-old state flag emblazoned with the Confederate Battle Emblem. The warnings from the varsity sports industry have had a huge influence on a multi-generational debate in the Mississippi capital. Elected officials quickly acted to lower and change the flag.
The NCAA also released a statement on Monday supporting voting rights, an apparent dig into Georgia’s new law that has led to moves like Major League Baseball moving this summer’s All-Star Game from the Atlanta area to Denver and protest statements from other large businesses and organizations. . Meanwhile, the NCAA is grappling with internal inequalities between its men’s and women’s athletic programs, underscored by the differences between its college basketball tournaments.
Three states – Mississippi, Arkansas and Tennessee – have signed legislation restricting transgender athletes so far this session, following in the footsteps of Idaho, which became the first state to prevent transgender women and girls. to play in divisions designated for female athletes last summer. Idaho law is not being enforced as it faces legal challenge; barring intervention, other state laws are expected to come into effect this summer.
South Dakota Republican Governor Kristi Noem signed two similar executive orders after disagreements over college bans prevented her from signing such bills; The West Virginia legislature sent a bill to the governor’s office for signature on Friday. Governor Jim Justice said he would allow it to become law.
This session saw the most bills targeting transgender women in sport, according to Republican ACLU lawmakers introducing the bills they try to protect female athletes under Title IX, which prohibits discrimination based on gender in educational institutions. who receive federal funding and have opened up opportunities for women’s sports.
A recent Supreme Court ruling and two executive orders signed by President Biden affirmed that “sex” includes gender identity and sexual orientation.
“Children should be able to learn regardless of whether they will be denied access to toilets, changing rooms or school sports,” reads a decree signed in January.
Alan blinder contribution to reports.